Emmett Shear is a San Francisco area entrepreneur and co-founder of the hugely successful web property Twitch. He grew up in Seattle and was childhood friends with long-time partner Justin Kan. Shear graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a BS in computer science, having shared a dorm with Kan—starting their first company, Kiko Software, out of that very room in the process. Kiko Calendar was robust calendar software on the crest of the web 2.0 boom. After development was finished, the duo sold the rights on eBay to a user simply known as “powerjoe1998” for the sum of $258,100. This money was used to fund subsequent projects, notably Justin.tv.
Justin.tv was co-founded by Emmett Shear, Justin Kan, Kyle Vogt and Michael Seibel in March 2007. Initially, the site was purpose-built to showcase Kan’s 24-7 “lifecasting” of daily activities, though within three months it was updated to include over 60 categories. Justin.tv became an open network in October 2007, allowing users to upload content publicly. The service caught on internationally, growing to over 30,000 channels across a myriad of countries in a matter of months. As time went on the gaming category began to pull more traffic than any of the others. The end result was the separation of gaming all together in 2011 into a new property, TwitchTV. Later rebranded simply to Twitch, the site now has drawn as many as 55 million unique views monthly in 2014. This spike in success was coupled with the bittersweet closure of Justin.tv on August 5, 2014 as the company chose to focus its resources on Twitch.
In mid-2014 there was heavy speculation of Twitch being acquired, with Google being a prevalent prospect for the deal. It was announced on August 25, 2014 that Amazon purchased Twitch Interactive for a combined $1.1 billion in combined capital and stock.
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